Category Archives: Rhen

Under Construction

If you happen to find the time to pop over to visit me on the ole blog and find it a little quiet, there is a reason for that. For the moment, both the blog and I are under construction.

I have so much that I want to write about and share with you. I have far too many great photos of of my latest projects and plans. I have interesting stories to regale you with of my adventures with the kids. Throughout it all, life has given me so many “God moments” to share that I hope you will find encouraging and uplifting.

I also have an Optional gymnast that is in the middle of her competition season. Birthday season is in full swing, springtime on the homestead brings about its own incredibly long to-do list, and let’s not even get into the school to-do list that encompasses pre-school to our first graduating senior.

What I don’t have is time. Sadly, I have been only given 24 hours in a day, and despite my most valiant efforts to shove and cram 30 hours of accomplishments into that 24 hours, I cannot.

I am also making a personal transition, as a mom, that will be reflected in my writing.  Mark and I are moving into a new phase in our lives, and it takes a little bit to test these waters!  It is exciting, scary, and a little sad all wrapped up together.

I hope you will stick around and see what we are up to.

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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101Reasons I Love My Husband

There is nothing quite as romantic as spending  a portion  of your weekend taking apart and deep cleaning your kitchen with your husband.   A little goofy sounding, I know, but it was a lot of fun and yet another reason I love my husband.

While pulling out the stove and giving everything a good scrubbing,  we laughed as we shared the antics of our little children and their adventures over the week.

While cleaning out and disinfecting the fridge, we marveled that seemingly out of nowhere our oldest daughter’s upcoming graduation from high school has snuck up on us.

While cleaning out and reorganizing the kitchen cabinets, we put great thought into plans for our upcoming 20th anniversary and enjoying the honeymoon we never had.

There were sly looks and grins while scrubbing the vent hood and degreasing underneath it.

There was a little pinch on the tush here and little pinch there while whitening the porcelain sink.

There were jokes and hilarious comments zinging that had us laughing so hard we were leaning on the counters to keep from falling over.
All of this and more while deep cleaning the kitchen!

My favorite moments come in our every day life enjoying the husband that God has blessed me with and the children that He has given us to raise.

Awesomeness.

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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Fabulous Cranberry Sauce

One of my favorite staples in the holiday meals is cranberry sauce, but we all know just how processed and unhealthy the average canned jellied cranberry sauces are.

I have tried several recipes to replace the store-bought stuff with something healthier, but none of them had the sweet and sour cranberry taste.  To put it nicely, they were horrible.

This year was different!

Let me share with you the Jewish cranberry sauce recipe that won over our whole family at Thanksgiving!

What you need:

  • 12 oz chopped cranberries
  • 1 orange chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (we used raw, unprocessed sugar)
  • 1 tbl lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped celery

Here’s how you do it:

  • Chop the cranberries first, then mix them with the sugar and set that bowl to the side.
  • Finely chop and mix the rest of the ingredients together.
  • Combine the two bowls, mix thoroughly, and place in fridge to chill.

We used a hand chopper and it worked well, but I am going to try using the food processor next time to see how much finer we can get everything chopped up.

That’s it!  We made ours the night before to allow the flavors to mingle, and it was delicious.   It was even a huge hit with those of us who were pretty hard-core fans of the canned stuff.  *wink*

This is now the new cranberry sauce that has earned the privilege of being on our family table for all holiday meals and feasts in our home!

I hope you enjoy it!

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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Answering the call of your inner fashionista. {GIVEAWAY}

This giveaway is now closed.  If you are looking for great ideas for gifts that won’t break your budget, pop over to Frugal Fashionistas and check out her accessories.  If you are looking for a way to supplement your income, contact Melissa about becoming a Frugal Fashionista yourself!

Accessorizing is fun.

The right jewelry will highlight your playful side, accent your eye color, or add that pop to your outfit.

So, when I was contacted about reviewing and giving away multiple pieces of super cute jewelry, I decided I would love the opportunity to bless a work at home mom and my readers at the same time!

Where can you find this great selection of jewelry pieces that are super cute and inexpensive?   Frugal Fashionistas!  Thank you to Melissa for sponsoring this giveaway!!

What do they offer?  A variety of necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, hair jewelry, as well as jewelry for kids.  The best part about accessorizing with items from Frugal Fashionistas:  all items are $5.  That’s it!  The items for kids are even less.

Gorgeous chandelier earrings

Beautiful ring

Stunning necklace

This is a great way to gift the fashionistas in your life with beautiful pieces and still keep on budget.  You can also gift yourself with a gorgeous statement piece of your own.  *grin*

Before I move on to the best part, the part where I get to bless my readers with free jewelry, I want to share a little more information.  If you are looking for a way of adding to your family’s income and work from home, Melissa has a great opportunity for you.

A business can be started for only $40!! Everything is $5, but the children’s line is even less if you choose to carry it.

No catalogs. No shipping costs for guests. No waiting.

You earn a 45% commission and you keep your earning as soon as the piece sells!!! No waiting for payday.

If this sounds like something that would be a blessing to you, contact Melissa by visiting her site.  All of her info is there and she is ready to help you!

On to the giveaway!

There will be three winners in this giveaway, and each one of the winners will receive a beautiful necklace and earring combo.

I like to keep the initial entry simple and still offer plenty of other ways to earn additional entries.

Initial entry:  Visit Melissa’s site, Frugal Fashionistas, and comment on THIS blog post which piece of jewelry you would love to accessorize the perfect party outfit with.

Additional entries (Make sure you leave a separate comment for each of the following that you do):

  • Request to join her Facebook group: Frugal Fashionistas
  • Invite other people to join her Frugal Fashionistas Facebook group.
  • Share this giveaway on your Facebook page (personal, blog, or business FB pages are fine!)  Can be done once per day.
  • Tweet about this giveaway.  (provide tweet link)  Can be done once per day.
  • Pin this giveaway on your Pinterest account.  (share link to pin)
  • Like Yes, They Are All Mine on Facebook.

The rules:

  • Continental US residents only, please.
  • You must complete the initial entry before additional entries will be counted.
  • Winners will be chosen via Random.org
  • Giveaway will close at 12:00 am (midnight CST) on Sunday, November 17th, 2013.
  • Winners will be announced on this blog on Monday, November 18th.
  • Winners have 48 to reply to the email or a new winner will be selected.
  • You do not have to have a blog to enter!

Good luck and earn those entries!!!  Three lovely people are going to be looking quite fabulous in these necklace/ earring sets!  🙂

All for the glory of God,

~Rhen

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Fall Cleaning

There is a definite nip to the air when I head outside in the morning to feed and water the animals.  A very brisk reminder that cold temperatures on their way.

In the same manner that spring cleaning inside and out when the weather warms up is essential for getting our homes and homesteads “woken up”, fall cleaning helps us to get it all put to bed.

The shimmering leaves of fall. Sigh.

What does my fall cleaning list for outside look like?

Let’s start with the house:

  • clean off all cobwebs, stray wasp nests, and mud dobber nests that are around the eaves and porches
  • clean the windows and screens
  • WD-40 hinges and sliding doors
  • spray peppermint around the doors and windows to repel spiders and bugs who may want to use our house a haven from the cold
  • the potted plants will soon be brought in and the pots need to be cleaned up before their trip inside.
  • put away or finish all of the projects that are on the porches!
  • clean up the patio and the firepit- we will soon be snuggling around a fire and sipping on hot cider

In the gardens:

  • time to pull the few weeds that have sprouted up in the past couple of weeks
  • pull and chicken compost plants that are spent
  • as leaves fall, we will gather some of them and turn them into the garden soil
  • use more of the leaves to put a thick layer of mulch around fall growing plants, fruit trees, and perennials
  • clean and oil all gardening tools
  • put floating row cover ribs over garden area where we will be using it
  • clean out flower boxes and outdoor pots
  • disconnect and drain water hoses
  • put insulating covers on water spigots

Our head rooster what’s in charge.

Around the homestead

  • clean out and deep mulch the chicken house
  • clean out and re-hay the goat/ geese house
  • move old bedding and dig it into the gardens
  • give the brooder box a good cleaning and disinfecting in the sun
  • give the pond area a thorough weed whacking
  • clean off the fallen branches and leaves that are gathering on the chicken house roof and the top of the chicken run.
  • reorganize all of the tools we have been using through-out the warm weather
  • as the leaves fall and the woods clear out, we will gather fallen branches, cut up fallen trees, and give the wooded acres a good underbrush cleaning- almost bonfire time!

A few projects we have listed for this fall while the weather is gorgeous:

  • dismantle old playset and rebuild into a sturdier, nicer one
  • clear a few trees from the edge of the yard and open it up a bit
  • map out a bike/ hiking trail and start getting it cleaned up and clearly marked

Do we share a lot of items for fall cleaning?  What did I miss that is on your list?

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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Menu Planning- Stepping up our game

If you are like me and look for every great idea to trim your grocery budget, then you have already discovered the awesome grocery budget fat buster of menu planning.

Menu planning alone has not only helped reduce our costs, but is has also reduced food waste and given us far better meal options.  When you know what is being prepared and you have all of the necessary ingredients, then it is not a crapshoot to try and pull a healthy, filling meal together.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was the menu planner.  I checked our pantry and freezer stock to create a menu for the week as well as a grocery list.

Then it it hit me.  I have THREE teenagers and at least 4 of our children can cook!  Why am I the only one making these decisions and getting everything lined up for the week?

Enter in operation FAMILY Meal Planning.

After a little powwow, we came up with a new strategy, not only for meal planning but also for meal preparation.

No longer is it a toss up as to who is going to cook, what they are going to prepare, and on what night will they be doing so.

Here’s how we do it.

Our oldest three, Renee (16), Noah (14), and Emily Grace (13), and the team of Hannah (10) and Dad each take a night to fully plan and prepare dinner for the family.  I take the three nights that they do not claim.

Each one of our chefs-in-training puts together all aspects of the meal and makes sure that we either have the ingredients or they are written on the grocery list.

When I head out to Costco with my list, I know that we will have exactly what need for the week’s breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners.

One of the great, yet unexpected, blessings of having our oldest children plan and prepare meals, they are getting inspired to try new dishes, new veggies, new spices, and new combinations.  Their creative juices are flowing!  {pun intended}

It does my momma heart good to see them researching new dinners to create.  Thank, you Pinterest!

Other blessings we noticed:

  • they are learning that planning ahead to ensure they have everything they need makes the job much easier and faster
  • they are widening their culinary scope and experimenting with new flavors
  • the new recipes are introducing new veggies and fruits
  • they are learning timing and time management to get all parts of the meal ready and on the table at the same time.
  • there has been finally come about a realization that they cannot “graze” in the pantry and fridge all of the time and still have what they need to prepare their meals.
  • bonus, this has worked so well, that they have also taken over lunches.

I love that my older kids will not be dependent on a microwave or takeout to eat in those beginning adult years that are in the very near future.  You never know, this may bring out a passion for cooking and a direction in life one of them never thought about.

Next, I need to get one of them interested in being a chocolatier.  *wink*

In your home, do the parents do all of the cooking?  Do you have teenagers who cook?  If not, now is a great time to start something new and get them interested in preparing fantastic meals and stretching themselves as chefs!

When you were a teenager, what were some of your favorite things to cook?

Mine, steak bites with onion and peppers.  Yum!

All for the glory of God,

~Rhen

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Around the Homestead

I enjoy the chores around our little homestead far too much to label them as “work”!  Feeding and watering the animals, watering and checking on the gardens, and walking our property to make sure that everything is in order is a perfect opportunity to talk with God and soak up His creation.

Some mornings I have a helper or two.

This morning Susannah (6) helped to put fresh hay in the nesting box and check for eggs.

Our chickens free-range during the day and are doing a great job of keeping the bugs down.  They are constantly scratching and pecking throughout the yard and woods.

Our youngest chickens are now beginning to lay eggs.  Can you spot the egg from one of the “new” girls?  *grin*

Unfortunately we had to move the geese up from the pond and into the goat yard.  They kept wandering off of our property and onto our neighbor’s porch where they kept making a mess.  Once we finish the fencing in the final side, they will get to move back to the pond.

All of the gardens are in bloom again.  With fall quickly approaching, everything seems to be trying to send off summer in style!

Just thought I would share my newest garden decorations.  A fantastic buy at Hobby Lobby for 80% off.  I spent only $4.50 for both of them.  Booyah!

While we feed most of the horned tomato worms to the chickens, we do allow the ones covered in wasp eggs to stay on the plants.  They don’t eat the plant and the wasps that hatch out hunt these kinds of pests.

Susannah is a huge help and distracts the goats with a little hay while I get their feed in their dish.  If they are anywhere near their feeding dish while I am trying to fill it, I can’t get to it and end up pouring the feed on their heads.  Silly goats!

Score one for the frugal homesteader in me.  I made this hay rack from left over fencing.   Mark’s Kleins and about fifteen minutes and the girls had a new rack to keep the hay clean and easily accessible for nibbling.

My next homestead projects:  clean out the chicken house and put down a fresh layer of hay,  build a double compost bin with pallets, and move the goose house up from the pond to the goat yard.

What’s happening around your home?  Any new outside projects?

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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